Sharmila Sen on Ian Almond

From The Front Table:

03 Two Faiths, One Banner by Ian Almond is an attempt to reverse one particularly dangerous strain of collective amnesia that has infected the world today. It is this collective amnesia that leads people to see Islam as deeply non-Western and a threat to the Christian West. If we are to continue writing the history of the West at all, Ian tells us, we must stop airbrushing Muslims and Jews out of it. So, he cleverly takes the idea of war and conflict, something we are all obsessed with these days (The War on Terror, The War on Drugs, Clash of Civilizations) and turns it on its head. He shows us how Muslims and Christians, far from having an unrelentingly antagonistic history, have often fought on the same side, against other Muslims and Christians, during defining moments of European history. From Andalusia, to Sicily, to Turkey, to Crimea, this is a history of the West that shakes us out of our collective amnesia. In the process, Ian also offers us an Islamic history of Europe.

It is not easy to stop forgetting. Amnesia is a wall. It partitions the past from the present. Muslim from Christian. Us from Them. You from Me. There is some comfort behind such partitions or we would not have been clinging to them for so long.

More here.